Today I lost my hat

Today I lost my hat.

My new hat –

lovingly hand knit

by my very good friend

warm, soft,

her hands protecting my head

from winter’s bitter chill,


on a train

going fast to St Albans.


It was brown, you know.

The most amazing wool, with a

big wooden button at the top right hand side

(depending on how you wore it)

so as I walked down the street

I could tell people were thinking,

“Who is that man with the stylish hat?”

(or something like that anyway!)


It was found, of course,

by someone.

I hope it was found by

someone who would wear it;

who wouldn’t see it as a health hazard

who didn’t pick it up with a metal stick

and drop it into a plastic bag.


That’s what I thought.

Then, on the way back,

a most amazing thing…


I must have caught the exact same train!

Because there on the seat in front of me

just lying there – untouched –


a mirage.

Then when I got off at Tulse Hill

the place was swarming with cops!

They had obviously been scouring London for my hat;

They were lining up to greet me

and present me with it.


But no.

They simply moved out of my way

and carried on talking among themselves.


And so I had to walk home hatless

comforted only by a packet of

fruit pastilles from the



But now I have a ray of hope.

My friend, Sara, told me to tweet the train co.

And they told me to complete the lost property form.

Maybe we’ll all see our hats again someday.


Baga and Paris –

So in the same week that 17 people were killed in Paris, up to 2,000 were slaughtered by Boko Haram in Baga, Nigeria.

The Guardian ran one of the fullest accounts on page 25 – the final page of its international news section.  This was a long way after the full 7 pages of news from Paris.

What might this mean?

  • Maybe it means that African lives are worth less to us than European lives – about 14,823 times less (2000/17 x 18 [pages later] x 7 [number of pages]).
  • Maybe it means that ordinary people’s lives mean less than those in the media – it’s inevitable that the media is going to use all its powers to defend its own.
  • Maybe it means we feel the shock of such a thing happening in Paris because it’s a city “like ours” “close to home” and we would therefore hope it would be safe.  So we accept terrible things happening in Africa?  Why do we accept this?
  • Maybe it’s because there are more French people living in the UK than Nigerians.  But the figures are uncertain.  Last year the Mayor of Brent, Michael Adeyeye claimed that over 1m Nigerians are living in London.
  • Maybe it’s because we “so passionately hold to freedom of speech” – yet the work of some Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, like their Danish equivalents, was to deliberately inflame. Is this the freedom of speech we really desire?
  • Maybe it’s because once the media machine burst into action, our political leaders knew nothing else than to jump on board.  Being seen “alongside” was too easy a shot not to miss.  What happened to standing alongside the people of Baga?
  • Maybe we didn’t want “our” drama being overshadowed.  It’s really good to respond to murderous acts of terrorism with demonstrations of peaceful, unafraid resistance.  But if such an act causes such a dramatic response, why does the slaughter of up to 2,000 innocent people barely get a look in?

What do you think it means?